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The Spanish Comunitat Valenciana team has withdrawn its application to join the ProTour next season, leaving French squad Ag2r Prvoyance in pole position as the most likely candidate to fill the spot vacated by Fassa Bortolo. CV boss Jos Luis Aznar explained that "entering the ProTour would force us to increase the budget considerably and at the moment we are not in the position to be able to do that."
Aznar seems to have opted for another year on the European continental circuit having seen what happened to Giancarlo Ferretti, who found out last week that his hopes of sealing a dael with Sony Ericsson were totally unfounded. "We have opted to be prudent and wait another year," Aznar told AS.
Aznar explained that Comunitat Valenciana could have fulfilled the financial obligations demanded by the International Cycling Union for entry into the ProTour only if a deal with one of three companies interested in co-sponsorship was concluded. "Our intention is still to sign a deal with one of the three before the end of the year, but the deal still isn't done and it is now impossible for us to complete the requirements within the time demanded by the UCI," he said.
However, Aznar is hopeful that he will find a company willing to make a long-term commitment to the team, and intends to make another ProTour licence application for 2007. "We will be asking sponsors for a commitment of at least three years," said Aznar.
CV's decision means that just five teams remain in contention for Fassa's ProTour slot, assuming that the UCI decides to fill it. As well as Ag2r, the others are Italian squads Acqua e Sapone and Naturino, the Belgian Unibet team (previously MrBookmaker.com) and the Colombian team Selle Italia.
Aznar also confirmed that Angel Casero has decided to retire from the sport after missing much of this season due to licence problems within the Spanish team.
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